I had been wanting to write a book for a long time, but could never come up with a subject. One day, when reading the book of Genesis and the story of Jacob and Joseph, BINGO! There’s my book. I updated that Bible story to the early to mid-nineteenth century and wound up with the Scoundrel.
Did you do any research for the book?
The basic story of the Scoundrel is that of Jacob and Joseph in the book of Genesis, but this book is contemporary to the nineteenth century and research had to be done in order to write with accuracy, such as the facts of the Homestead Act. I used the internet quite a bit to get facts about the sons of Jacob. In my book there are 12 sons as in the Bible, and I wanted each son to have the characteristics of the Biblical sons. For instance, Reuben was Jacob’s first born. In the Scoundrel, Raymond is Jake’s first born. I also tried to parallel the behavior of the sons in both stories, and research on the internet provided much information.
How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?
Deciding when to finish the story was very easy in this case. The book began with Raymond making plans for Jake’s funeral, then, the story reverted back to when Jake had to leave home as a young man in order to keep his brother from killing him. The story went from that time to the death of Jake, so when it came up to his funeral, it was time to end the story.
What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?
The goal for this book is to attempt to get the message out that regardless of how good or how bad a person is, God is always there and in His goodness, He can turn a really bad situation into something good.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m trying to put together a story that I think is a very good one, however, I’m having a hard time coming up with a way to begin the book. If I can come up with a first half as good as I think the second half will be, my next book should be a winner.
At what age did you discover writing?
I’ve had a long, good life and have traveled many miles, but have never enjoyed anything anymore than writing. I didn’t discover writing until I was 75 years old and regret not having found it 30 years ago.
What was the first story you remember writing?
I don’t know if you can call my first attempt at writing a story or not. I thought my children and grandchildren might enjoy knowing some of the things I experienced as a child, so I put together a group of memories that covered thirty some-odd pages. I was right; the children enjoyed reading it.
When where you first published? How were you discovered?
Scoundrel is my first book, and it was published in September, 2012. The word serendipity has to apply to my being discovered. I had been trying for months to find an agent, and after dozens and dozens of rejections I found an agent that seemed to be interested in my book. He explained that the publishing business had changed, and authors had to do much of the promoting, and he suggested I go around to a lot of independent bookstores to find out how they worked with new authors. I made a long list of bookstores in Winston-Salem and started out as per the agent’s suggestion. The first store I went to was Barnhill’s, and about ten minutes after I got there, Mike Simpson, of Second Wind Publishing came in and the store manager introduced us. Mike expressed an interest in my book after I told him a little about it. After much re-writing on my part and much patience on Mike’s part, Scoundrel became a reality.
What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process? What is the easiest part of the writing process?
To me, the easiest part of writing a book is the actual writing. Trying to find someone to look at your work is probably the hardest thing. If you’re lucky enough to find someone, I guess the next hardest part is the editing, re-writing, and promoting. I feel strongly that God led me to Mike Simpson.
Have you written any other books?
I have written two books since Scoundrel. My second book, Shepherds, is scheduled to be released March 1, 2013, and my third book, Redemption is at Second Wind Publishing now.
Do your characters ever take on a life of their own?
Sometimes I think I’m crazy because many of my characters take on a life of their own, even to the point of bringing tears to my eyes when I read certain passages.
What one word describes how you feel when you write?
Contentment is the word that best describes how I feel when I write.